Monday, 19 March 2012

The Time Of Their Lives (1946)

Abbott & Costello provide audiences with something a bit different from their usual fare in this easygoing, supernatural comedy.

Lou plays Horatio, a man wrongly shot down as a traitor and cursed to reside as a ghost alongside Melody Allen (played by Marjorie Reynolds). Horatio and Melody have to stay on the land on which they died, unless one day their innocence can be proved. As time rolls merrily on, we eventually get a group of people arriving who may well help in that endeavour. Including, of course, a character played by Bud Abbott.

The Time Of Their Lives is a pleasant enough little movie and I can't say that I disliked it. However, it really was really missing some spark of wit and vitality. The supernatural element kept things entertaining enough but didn't really compensate for the lack of the trademark fast-talking banter that fans of A & C know and love.

The first of many A & C movies directed by Charles Barton, this one benefits from a great cast (Marjorie Reynolds is a delight, Binnie Barnes and Gale Sondergaard are both very good, Ann Gillis is very sweet and John Shelton is fine) compensating for the mediocre script. Val Burton, Walter DeLeon and Bradford Ropes all had a hand in the screenplay, with some additional dialogue by John Grant (as was so often the case), but none of them capitalise on the potential of the premise. One or two set-pieces stand out as pretty amusing skits but they're still not a patch on the more typical A & C style of humour that featured in most of their other movies.

I wish this had been a better comedy but I still enjoyed it as a nice and inoffensive comedy that happens to have two lead characters who are ghosts.


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